"And what of justice?"
That was the reaction of my dear friend and Holocaust survivor, Veronica, upon hearing a few years ago that Jerry Falwell's Liberty University would start a school of christian conservative LAW.
She knows that there can often be a PROFOUND difference between LAW and JUSTICE. From having lost more than half her family in Hungary during the 1930s and 1940s, she KNOWS that laws can often be used for unjust ends. My feeling is this:
You either believe in "justice for ALL," or you don't. There is no in-between.
That positive affirmation has occurred to me many times over the course of the last 30 years. And I've often wondered why our many progressive and liberal groups have so often failed to come together to DEMAND a uniform application of JUSTICE. I do NOT mean an application of the law - which is largely discretionary and ephemeral - but JUSTICE. I also do not mean justice in a limited sense - social justice, economic justice, criminal justice. I MEAN JUSTICE FOR ALL.
I am overjoyed at the birth of Occupy Wall Street and the rapid identification of millions Americans with OWS and the 99% movement. A large majority of Americans agree that there has been LITTLE JUSTICE in the U.S. for quite some time. I doubt most of them could agree on precisely when that began. But I believe as many here do that the single most catalytic start for all this widespread injustice began upon the inauguration of Ronald Reagan in January, 1981. Since that time, the concept of justice has been entirely bastardized and perverted into a conglomeration of harshly applied rules and prohibitions for nearly all of us, and NO SANCTION at all for a tiny number of others - strictures on the one-hand that apply to a large group; a virtual free hand and NON-ENFORCEMENT for a tiny minority. It's a dual-track system of justice. OWS & 99% inspired me just this evening to start a Facebook page entitled "Justice for ALL," a demand of sorts that I believe MUST accompany any changes in our political and economic sphere as result of the larger 99% movement and on behalf of the 99% of us. I'm hoping that all of you will join my Facebook page and contribute your thoughts and ideas on genuine JUSTICE FOR ALL.
Since I started this Facebook group only this evening, I haven't had an opportunity to fill much out on the page yet, but I started with what I call the "Declaration of JUSTICE FOR ALL." It is what I believe to be an accurate assessment of present conditions in the U.S. - conditions which MUST be changed if our constitution is to have meaning beyond theory.
Please follow me beyond the squiggly for an exploration of "justice" in the U.S. and what must be changed to bring the U.S. in line with what I believe to be the intent and spirit of the Constitution.
DECLARATION of JUSTICE FOR ALL
WE, THE PEOPLE, have allowed to flourish in this country a thoroughly UNJUST duel-track system of justice: ONE FOR 99 PERCENT OF US, and another for the wealthiest and most powerful 1%.
JUSTICE FOR ALL means: law enforcement, courts, and executive branches on ALL levels MUST RESPECT THE BILL OF RIGHTS, MUST PROTECT EACH CITIZEN'S RIGHTS UNDER THE BILL OF RIGHTS; and laws meant to punish the guilty, WHOMEVER THEY MAY BE, MUST BE STRICTLY & SWIFTLY ENFORCED WHEN RIGHTS ARE VIOLATED BY THOSE WHOSE DUTY IT IS TO UPHOLD THEM.
What is meant by duel-track justice?
In many ways, John Edwards was right when he said there are “two Americas.” And he also became a victim of a double-standard based upon his private conduct.
This is the character of OUR PRESENT DUEL-TRACK JUSTICE SYSTEM:
TRACK ONE JUSTICE is AGAINST 99% and includes...
Statutes, laws, and regulations passed or imposed by elected officials, administrators or other non-elected bodies - some of them unconstitutional - that are often HARSHLY ENFORCED on 99% of Americans - many times those actions involve "cruel and unusual punishment," unlawful imprisonment, false arrest, police brutality, planted evidence, selective and/or highly subjective choices of targets for law enforcement or investigation, actions against personal political choices, long prison sentences for non-violent OR NON-FINANCIAL-RELATED crimes, FINES, JAIL AND/OR INSTATEMENT OF REQUIREMENTS FOR FULL RESTITUTION, and death sentences for many who are subsequently PROVED INNOCENT. The United States has THE LARGEST PRISON POPULATION in the "free" world, yet virtually NONE of those imprisoned are among the wealthiest and most powerful 1% - and it’s not because those in the 1% are innocent. But INNOCENT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EXECUTED in the United States of America – NONE of whom have ever been among the 1%.
NON-ENFORCEMENT OR DELIBERATE CIRCUMVENTION OF ENFORCEMENT of laws or constitutional provisions on the books for years, decades or centuries written and designed for the very purpose of protecting individual rights and for serving THE PUBLIC INTEREST. These include NON-ENFORCEMENT OF:
- Federal and state anti-slavery and labor laws.
- Environmental laws.
- Zoning and land-use laws, including unlawful taking of private property FOR PRIVATE GAIN.
- NON-ENFORCEMENT of anti-racketeering and anti-trust laws, permitting individual and business collusion and conspiracy among or on behalf of the 1%.
- Deliberate or malicious violence or application of the law in unconstitutional ways.
REPEATED INTERFERENCE in the OUR PRIVATE LIVES and attempts to regulate, legislate or adjudicate PERSONAL CHOICES - choices that neither do harm to others nor violate the rights of any other citizen. Such interference is HOSTILE TO DEMOCRACY and freedom and seeks to stifle our individual pursuits of happiness. The STATE HAS NO COMPELLING INTEREST IN OUR PRIVATE PERSONAL CHOICES no matter the pretext. These interferences include, but are by no means limited to:
- Choice of spouse or sexual partners.
- Reproductive methods and choices.
- Religious or spiritual choices.
- Commercial choices and other individual choices for our families.
- Our choices for political action on our own time independent of our occupations or professions.
- Manifest violations of the American principle of "liberty in law;" improper application of the law to stifle personal liberty when the state has NO COMPELLING INTEREST; often successful attempts to write discriminatory applications into the public law - applications which by their very nature are HOSTILE TO INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY.
TRACK TWO JUSTICE BENEFITS the 1% and includes...
- NON-ENFORCEMENT of the same laws that are strictly enforced on 99%.
- Virtually NO CREDIBLE INVESTIGATIONS - let alone charges and trials - of perpetrators of economic and other high crimes committed against the public, even when there is ABUNDANT CREDIBLE EVIDENCE OF WRONGDOING by those in the 1% - including conspiracy. Such crimes cost our society and individual citizens FAR AND AWAY MORE than most alleged crimes for which 99% are charged and imprisoned.
- Deliberate or malicious violations of anti-slavery, labor, environmental, community, anti-trust, anti-racketeering, and financial laws and regulations written and passed for the very purpose of protecting individual rights and in order to justly serve THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
- THEFT of private property and assets held by 99% through conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud, extortion, bribery or outright and deliberate misrepresentation of fact and OFTEN in complete contravention of the purported purposes or professional responsibility of those committing such.
- Use of private or public police forces or militias to enforce unconstitutional or unlawful actions.
- Official sanction of use of force against UNARMED CIVILIANS.
- Creation of a PRIVATE, FOR-PROFIT prison industry. Both private and public prisons routinely make available to for-profit businesses the labor of prisoners, paying them only pennies per day and removing job opportunities for the remaining NON-INCARCERATED among the 99%.
- Creation of a PRIVATE, FOR-PROFIT hospital and health insurance system which renders many health professionals in violation of their sacred professional duty and code of conduct to “do no harm.”
- Ownership or effective control of the majority of popular media, and routinely employing acts of deliberate misrepresentation of factual data or manipulation of public perception through fraudulent means. Popular media to be free of interference MUST SERVE THE PUBLIC INTEREST; for-profit, private “news” agencies largely MAKE NOT EVEN A PRETENSE OF IT ANY LONGER. FOR-PROFIT NEWS CANNOT SERVE THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
- NO REQUIREMENTS under law for personal and/or corporate responsibility for UNLAWFUL ACTIONS committed on behalf of the 1%.
- NO ADMISSIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY by mostly any person OR INSTITUTION (including corporations) representative of the 1%.
- Little or NO PRISON TIME for those few in the 1% who are charged.
- NO RESTITUTION OF STOLEN OR FRAUDULENTLY OBTAINED ASSETS AND PUBLIC FUNDS.
THESE ARE BUT A FEW... and our responsible authorities care not a whit. THIS SHALL NO LONGER BE TOLERATED. WE ARE THE 99% AND WE INSIST UPON MAKING THIS SOCIETY WORK ON OUR BEHALF FOREVER AND FOR ALL TIME FROM THIS POINT FORWARD. If you're not part of OUR SOLUTION you're part of the problem, and most likely are guilty of committing these very same high crimes and you shall be punished to the fullest extent of the law - THAT IS TRUE JUSTICE.
Please join my Facebook group Justice for ALL and add your thoughts and ideas (AFTER commenting here, of course). Thanks.